Borough residents share concerns over Dunleavy's proposed budget at town hall

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Borough residents spoke their mind on Governor Dunleavy's proposed budget at Mayor Bryce Ward's town hall over the weekend. Residents were worried about many different impacts of the budget, from education, to access to health care. The town hall started with a presentation on how the proposed budget would impact the borough, just over 48 million dollars between income the borough wouldn't receive and expenses the state wouldn't pay for the municipality.

Mayor Ward was happy with the turnout of over 150 residents who were at the town hall to voice their opinions and listen to those of their neighbors. "I was really pleased to see a number of folks that were able to attend today, first day of spring break, a beautiful afternoon so we really appreciate folks coming out and giving us their thoughts," said Ward.

A majority of those who testified said they wouldn't mind paying in some way for the services that the government provides. "I appreciate going to borough pools, I appreciate driving on plowed roads, I recognize that the library and other entities require funding and I think it's only adult of me, to say yeah, I expect to be taxed for those services," said a borough resident.

"A number of folks were interested in maintaining the services that the state currently provides or the resources the state provides for the local municipality," said Ward.

Residents also spoke in support of Dunleavy's proposed budget. "I ask the borough to support Governor Dunleavy's program, and force the school district and force the university to deal with their problem, they can do it they just don't want to," said a borough resident.

Senator Scott Kawasaki was at the town hall, as well as local elected officials and a representative from Dunleavy's office. "The information that we get from individuals and families about their personal stories really helps us understand how a budget is not just a bunch of numbers, it's about the people," said Kawasaki.

Mayor Ward said his office will now compile all of the comments into a report to send to the governor's office - noting which residents are open to ideas such as implementing taxes, or a reduced PFD to fund services.